The Thomistic tradition, following the ancients, regards the promotion of virtue to be among the primary goods of politics. Yet the promotion of self-regarding virtue through direct state regulation is a role republican government, and perhaps any political order, is ill-equipped to fulfill. Laws in the realm of sexual morality, or that otherwise do not directly harm others, are particularly troublesome and political authorities would do well to recognize their limitations. This does not mean abdication over the private realm by the state. It suggests the importance of the separation of church and state, giving rise to robust forms of regulation within families and religious institutions. Government regulates best when it recognizes and reinforces spheres of social order independent of the state and does not seek to interfere with or limit their proper autonomy. The Text of the Lecture
BIO: Dr. Seana Sugrue is Associate Professor of Politics at Ave Maria University and one of the University’s top-rated teachers among students. She joined the faculty in 2004 and served as the Chair of the Department of Politics for five years. She came to Ave Maria University from Princeton University, where she was the Associate Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. Her research interests include civil liberties and constitutional governance, the role of law in the formation of a just society, the civic significance of institutions such as marriage and the family, and pro-life concerns. She teaches courses in Constitutional Law, American Civilization, International Relations, and Public Policy, among others. Dr. Sugrue holds the degrees of B.B.A. from Bishop’s University, LL.B. from the University of Ottawa, and both LL.M. and D.C.L. from McGill University. She has taught at Princeton and McGill.